“Everything is Broken” is a song written and recorded by American musician Bob Dylan, and released on his 1989 album, Oh Mercy. The song’s lyrics describe Dylan’s detachment from his world at the time of its writing. The track found on Oh Mercy is a re-working of a take recorded earlier. The original version, recorded by Dylan in March 1989 in New Orleans, was included on the 2008 compilation album The Bootleg Series Vol. 8 – Tell Tale Signs: Rare and Unreleased 1989-2006, while the version from Oh Mercy was rereleased on the compilation album The Essential Bob Dylan. Originally recorded as “Broken Days” in March 1989, Dylan had rewritten the song entirely by April, giving it its current name. “Everything is Broken” is one of Dylan’s songs that he has reworked many times over. In an interview with Nigel Williamson (the author of The Rough Guide to Bob Dylan) and Oh Mercy’s producer, Daniel Lanois, he described how Dylan would rework his songs over and over again:
“I sat next to him for two months while he wrote [Oh Mercy] and it was extraordinary. Bob overwrites. He keeps chipping away at his verses. He has a place for all his favorite couplets, and those couplets can be interchangeable. I’ve seen the same lyrics show up in two or three different songs as he cuts and pastes them around, so it’s not quite as sacred ground as you might think.
[Inspired by Asger Schnack – dedicated to Jacob Grønlykke]